Amy Winehouse. Aretha Franklin. Etta James. Soulful singers you know from years of hearing their names spoken with praise, whose verses fill our hearts with heavy emotion and due remembrance. It’s to the likes of these three women that up-and-coming artist Lily Moore has been compared on more than one occasion. (And she means business when Winehouse is mentioned.)
The 20-year-old Brighton-born stargirl has been performing since she was 14 years old, taking to the streets with a passion larger than life.
“I would go busking a bit just to get to have an audience to sing to and try new songs out with,” Moore told us. “It was safe because they wouldn’t stick around for too long, so I could just spend the whole time singing the same couple of songs and no one would know. It also gave me a bit of money, although I would often spend it all before I got home. But the thought was there!”
There’s something to be said for that kind of passion—I can imagine that street-side passersby aren’t the easiest audience with which to connect. I guess with a smooth, soulful voice like Lily’s, you can melt absolutely any heart that’s fortunate enough to be listening. I know mine pools into a puddle on the floor the moment her vocals ring through my headphones. A melodic illustration of love and self-exploration, songs like “Lying to Yourself,” “Not That Special,” and “I Know I Wanna Be With You” are destined to be chart-toppers; it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world finds out about this soul sister.
With a sound as sure and confident as Lily’s, we had to ask if she always knew this would be the music she wanted to make. When asked if she ever experimented with any other genres or energies, Lily was frank: “I’m still growing and experimenting, so I wouldn’t say I’ll ever have a definite sound, but soul music will always be in there. It's what I grew up listening to.”
That idea is clear in her latest single, “Do This For Me,” released October 1st on her I Will Never Be EP. The track starts out slowly, a low melody playing out on piano.
“Been an easy ride
Didn't even try
Hold me again, my hopeless friend
Until the morning light”
I knew I was far gone at the ten-second mark, Lily’s sultry vocals turning my heart inside out at my feet as the lyrics wrapped me in a sense of admittance.
“‘Do This For Me’ is about not being brave enough to bring something to an end, and relying on the other person to say the things I couldn’t,” Lily explained. “I hope anyone listening to it feels as I do when I’m singing it.”
Speaking personally, I felt everything and more. It was like I could feel each syllable resonating in my chest, a cool and flighty sensation. It felt as if I could disappear in the slightest gust of wind, and I made my home in that moment. I hope you experience this song the same way as I did, because a piece this powerful deserves to be heard wholeheartedly.
As the second verse rolls through, I hear the lines Lily had proclaimed were her favorite.
“Deaf to your charm
No ink on my arm
But you’ll always be the first”
A mistake that was never made, she explains that the “no ink” line is in reference to his name that was never tattooed on her skin. “A sensible move from me,” Moore joked.
On the topic of messages within the music, I inquired about her aspirations as an artist, asking how she’d like to be remembered. The answer I received made me feel an even stronger connection to Lily than I had before.
“I want to be known as an honest artist, who says the things that everyone is thinking but is too scared to say… If someone can listen to my song and think, ‘Ahhh, I’ve felt like that before—I’m glad she thinks that way too,’ then I’m happy.”
Lily has played alongside notable names such as James Bay and George Ezra, but on October 1st she kicked off her very first headlining tour. If you reside in the U.K., make sure to check out her upcoming dates here, and enjoy the show for me. I’m looking forward to the inevitable day when she announces a U.S. tour. (I know this girl is going to sweep the world!) I asked her how she felt about this major step in her career.
Pure Nowhere: What are you most excited for, leaving for your very first headline tour? That’s a big deal! Are there any bucket list items that you want to check off while on the road?
Lily Moore: Playing in Brighton will be great, as it's my first headline show in my hometown! Most of my family and friends—my biggest fans—live there, so it's going to be a really special evening for me. I don’t have a bucket list, but if you have any suggestions then fire away!? I do have a bit of an obsession with good breakfasts, so I think the mission will be to go for brunch everywhere. Maybe even twice a day if it’s a day off.
Besides bunking down with a plate of pancakes (which is a dream I can fully get behind), I asked Lily what she sees in her future. Lily was honest: “Hopefully getting to sing and make music I love for the rest of my life.” As for the random things she’d like to accomplish, learning to drive and going on holiday alone make the top of that list.
With this said, our conversation came to a close, and I can no further express how much I admire Lily—not only as a musician, but as an independent woman. She knows what she wants her life to look like, and is taking every step possible to make that a reality. (Even if it means traveling all around the U.K. to find the best breakfast food.)
Make sure to check out Lily’s latest single, “Do This For Me,” as well as her previously released work and current tour dates!
Photo by Phoebe Fox.
Annie Walton Doyle
Ameerah de Chabert